Monday, 12 August 2019

...Charlton enter the Twilight Zone...

Who'd have thought it? Not me that's for sure! Two games in and maximum points.

I have previously alluded to the 52 mark being the points haul required to keep us in the division, and rather fastidiously worked through the fixture list predicting where we could genuinely and historically hope to pick points up, bringing me to conclude we'd finish on 51, hopefully just enough to avoid the drop.

I'd had us gaining just the one point at home to Stoke out of our opening two weekends. How wrong was I?  Thankfully completely wrong. So we are currently tracking five points ahead of my projections already.

What struck me whilst at The Valley for our opening home game, was how improved and more self assured as a side we looked.  The new signings, even those that have been with the rest of the squad for just a few days, settling in well.  It took a while last season for Bowyers hastily assembled last minute squad to really gel and get that momentum going that saw us eventual play off winners. I'm sure that the new incoming squad members still need time to fully assimilate themselves into the Bowyer way of doing things.  Once they have, the mind boggles at what we could possibly achieve based on what we've seen so far.

Feels a bit weird being so positive in a post what with experience over recent years.  Not just about how we've started the season, but also about the transfer window itself.

Following on from Aribo's departure north of the border we saw Dijksteel go to Middlesborough. A pretty negative occurrence, and does leave right back as potentially the weakest link in the first team with a relentless schedule of games and no natural cover. However the continued rejections of  bids from Brentford, Boro (again) and apparently Bristol City for big sums of money for the services of Lyle Taylor were, to put it simply, most out of character for our current owner.

We have then gone on to make some quality loan signings, by no means are any of these guys here to make up the numbers and warm the bench.  There is real competition throughout the squad for starting places. We even had a late big money (well big for Duchalet) bid turned down for Peterborough's Ivan Toney.  The word from Bowyer was that the aim was that Toney would play alongside Taylor and wasn't planned to be a direct replacement for the Charlton idol. This would have been funded by the money received for Dijksteele.

Strange days indeed down in SE7.

As for the game itself (apologies if this is your first time reading this blog, I don't do blow for blow match reports, there are others much better at delivering that type of information), Once we'd got through the first twenty minutes or so of Stoke probing and testing us out we grew into the game. Taylor, whose attitude following on from what must have been quite a difficult and frustrating week for him, showed why he is lorded so much by the Addicks faithful.  100 per cent commitment to the cause and another tireless performance capped off with scoring our opening goal and setting up our third.

After the disappointment of conceding an equaliser, once the second half went underway we slowly worked ourselves into a position where we began to dominate the game.  When possession was lost the team to a man worked hard to regain it.  And once Aneke scored his debut goal there only looked like being one winner.

A marvellous performance was capped off for Gallagher when he finished from Taylor's lay off to see us out 3-1 winners. No weak links to report at this point.

Final word to the twelfth man. All 15 odd thousand of them.  If you compare the atmosphere to that of the Pre Bowyer days under Duchalet, it is completely different. Momentum carried through from last seasons run in combined with the players attitude and style of football we are getting to watch make The Valley an exciting place to be right now.

Lets see where we can all take this season now.


Friday, 2 August 2019

...13...it's the magic number!

It seems like such a long time since the Euphoria of May 26th.

We've seen a variety of takeover false dawns, various interviews on talksport and official club website statements from Roland Duchalet. The strange, strange man, bemoaning the EFL and blaming everyone else for his inability to find a buyer willing to pay his vastly over inflated price for the club.

We now face the beginning of the Championship campaign.  Plenty of players, key ones in last seasons team at that, have gone. However we have seen incoming, including the highly rated Connor Gallagher from Chelsea being announced today.

My personal opinion is that with the players left from last season, those that Lee Bowyer and his backroom team have bought in, and I hope three or four more quality loan signings (Bowyer and Gallen do seem to have a knack of finding loanee's who don't just make up the numbers but have a positive impact on the squad), we will be not only be alright but may surprise one or two. Hopefully starting with Blackburn Rovers.  A team whom I personally cannot stand.

I won't do an in depth preview of the season, fellow blogger 'Chicago Addick' has done that quite thoroughly here , here and  here. It is one of the toughest divisions to predict accurately, and seems to throw up 'dark horses' year after year.

Sky Sports polled supporters opinions (receiving a massive response from Charlton fans i'd assume) to compile a predicted final table for this seasons Championship, i'd be more than happy with the predicted 8th place finish for The Addicks.

The bottom line is that we are back in The Championship, after another three years stuck in the third tier.  The primary objective must be avoiding relegation.

Looking back over several seasons 52 would be the average points total required to finish fourth from bottom and avoid the dreaded drop zone. 50 has been mentioned as the target number of points.

Based on the above we need to achieve the magic number of 13 to stay up.  13 wins and 13 draws.

Looking at who we traditionally do alright against i'm predicting 12 wins and 14 drawers will see us finishing on exactly 50 points.  Which will hopefully be enough to keep us up.  Based on when the games are played against the team I think we'll pick these points up it'll be the final home game against Wigan Athletic that will see us hit the 50 mark.  My hope is that by this point we would have already 'crossed the line' by the skin of our teeth due to others falling well short of the magic 50.

October could be the toughest month of games based on my predicted results.  What will be critical to our survival is Duchalet holding his nerve and sticking with Bowyer when we do go on winless runs.  And there will be a few of these during our first season back in the division that has been our natural home over the years.

If the results go the way I think they could, throw in some surprises against the well established promotion candidates and we could see a more respectable points haul, and something closer to 56-59, which would see us well clear of the relegation places.

One thing I do know, regardless of ownership issues, regardless of a (currently) thin squad, regardless of the doom and gloom merchants, I'm excited and looking forward to the season ahead. The above is my anticipated worst case scenario.  Bring it on.

In Bowyer we trust.






Monday, 27 May 2019

Its days like these...

... they keep you coming back. Despite the club nearly liquidating back in the eighties, the nomadic years at Selhurst, various relegation dogfights, Ian Dowie and Alan Pardew, The Duchatelet years (ongoing).

Yesterday three generations of my family made the trip together to Wembley, (my first visit to the new stadium, last time I had reason to visit was 21 years ago for our last play off final).

Ironically it was a very similar experience. Until that 94th minute goal going in, just willing it all to be over, let’s just get to the final whistle so we know out fate. Good or bad. And how good was it? Bloody good. The atmosphere generated by the Charlton fans was electric, I’d say better than last time round. I’ve been told a lot by supporters of other teams how the new Wembley has no atmosphere. I’d beg to differ.

My throat is till sore and voice hoarse from all of the singing and shouting. The buzz during the walk to Wembley Park was like nothing I’ve experienced in 40 odd years of following Charlton. All the way back to Kent.

I’ve watched lots of post match footage of Bowyer and this group of players, there’s such a bond and spirit showing amongst them, whether Duchatelet stays or not if we can keep the Management team and these players together I really believe we could be on an upward curve that can take us who knows where!

Happy days!


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Duchalet finally breaks... he's gone f***ng mental!

Following on from Rolands idea being floated at last nights fans forum of the EFL buying Charlton these two items have now been added to the clubs website.

Buy Charlton demands owner

Owner Overview

Okay, i couldn't say for sure that the latter is new, but I've certainly not seen it before.

It strikes me after the last few days we are entering the end game.  Whatever that may entail.  It certainly seems after events on his home soil that Duchalets staying power is finally evaporating into a desperate last attempt at proving he has not been a complete and utter fucking failure at running a football club effectively.

If we do go up this season via the play offs, what Bowyer and his back room staff and team would have pulled off would be nothing short of miraculous. (I do however feel that with all that is going on behind the scenes along with the obstructive environment that management have to work within - promotion is unlikely).

I'm at the point where Duchalet throwing the towel in, administration, points deduction and one more season in League One - under sensibly ambitious stewardship, is beginning to look appealing.

The schmuck has to go! One way or another.



Saturday, 9 February 2019

Charlton fail to capitalise with extra man...

A hugely frustrating afternoon at The Valley saw a Charlton side without either of their top strikers due to suspension of one and Duchalets cashing in of the other fall short against an unskilfull Southend United.

Having taken the lead against the run of play and then had a player sent off you’d have thought the extra man may help a lively Charlton team jog on to three points.

Bowyer moved to a back three in the second half introducing new boy Parker to the fray. Who impressed and it could have been a different story had he had decent foil to play off of him up front.

Charlton mounted wave after wave of attacks. Ben Reeves equaliser one would have thought would be the start of an expected come back. But for a mixture of the ineffectual Fosu, Marshall and Vetokele saw the ball end up pretty much every where else but on the target. This alongside some roughing up of mainly Marshall and some of the worst time wasting I’ve seen for a long time from Southend and The Valley faithful had to trudge home both frustrated and disappointed.

I’ll be interested to see how Parker and Taylor hook up next Saturday. It will be a very different dynamic to the type of partnership Lyle enjoyed with Grant. On the face of it Parker is the kind of forward who will knock down into Taylors path and hold the ball up for the wingers bombing on through.

Onwards and upwards.

Footnote. ‘I said ooh aah Nabby Sarr...I said ooh aah Nabby Sarr!’ What a revelation.


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Oh please Monsieur Duchelet...do one!!!

As yet another transfer window passes under the Duchalet regime, this one more than any other epitomises what a stark and ineffectual period this has been for the club.

I was waiting to return to blogging about my favourite club until the takeover had taken place, as I was fed up with just posing pretty negative stuff. But having been sold a puppy for a third time now. This time via James White on the radio I figured I may as well get back on the bike. Otherwise it seems like I’d be waiting for hell to freeze over.

Grant going, based on the current form of his partnership with Lyle Taylor, was hugely disappointing. As was the 11th hour signing of his replacement, the slightly ageing Journeyman Josh Parker. We are extremely light upfront, and with the way Taylor likes to put himself about I have no doubt he will spend more time on the naughty step suspended as the season reaches its finale. 

The lack of decent and experienced back up in strikers certainly told on Saturday. And what about the blow to general morale losing one part of the most prolific Charlton goal scoring partnership in years? Can’t help.

I feel for Bowyer. What he has managed to achieve to date with no budget in comparison to our competitors speaks volumes for his motivational skills.

And so on to Saturday. We welcome back to The Valley Sir Chris. I know some get a bit fed up with the Sir Chris brigade banging on about the past. But I wonder what would have happened if he’d been backed and allowed to do his own thing?


One thing I do know, I hope he goes home with no points after being given a warm welcome by the Addicks home supporters.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Youngsters do Charlton proud...

Charlton followed on from last weeks dissapointment at The Stadium of Light by notching their first win and three points of the season.

We even actually managed to get six bodies on the bench.

In all honesty, and this isn’t me be over critical, it was a game contested by what looked like two very average third division sides.  Pluses were Lapslie (again) and Morgan who came on at half time for the ineffectual Marshall.

No one could fault the application of the team, there was just a lacking spark throughout the pitch. The win being the result of lots of hard work as opposed to skill.

Naby Sarr (the legend) did a decent enough job, he would however I think be well exposed by better opposition.

It is early days, once we get the long list of injured back, if we avoid any more injuries I can certainly see us improving on last seasons sixth place. Espiecially if Taylor and Grant continue to grow together and get goals.

Who knows, we may even finally see the takeover finally happen and few decent loan signings coming in. It’s hard work being a Charlton supporter at the moment, but i’ll Keep on keeping on in the hope that things will finally change behind the scenes.